Just Heather

The 33rd item on my 40×40 list actually reads: Be a bridesmaid. And, I did, but it wasn’t what I thought. It still didn’t satisfy whatever caused me to write in on my list in the first place.

Actually, I’m not sure what possessed me to add that to my list since it wasn’t really anything I could work towards. But, in 2010, my sister invited me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding. I helped her choose dresses. I answered frantic phone calls. I decorated the church. And, I stood beside my little sister as she spoke her vows to my new brother.

The ceremony was lovely. The reception was super fun. It was all exactly as it should be. And, yet, I still never blogged about crossing that item off my list. Every time I sat down to type it out, nothing came. Until I realized it was never about being a bridesmaid.

It was about having a friend who cherished you enough to ask.

And, it turns out? I’m already there, but it wasn’t a wedding that made me see it. It was walking into a restaurant for a birthday dinner with the hubby and finding out that my Saturday evening was never what I thought it would be.

It was finding a table full of fabulous people who loved me enough to throw an awesome surprise party. It’s friends who get me. Friends who know 35 isn’t easy,with my 40×40 list so far behind the halfway point. Friends who are there for me for fun & laughter or drama & tears.

Friends. I finally have them. In spades.

I have a best friend who would literally do anything for me. I have awesome friends who totally understand me but run with my crazy even when they don’t. I have loving friends who will lend an ear, share a cocktail, and drive me home after one too many.

I have generous friends who will go out their way to be sure I always have what I need — and plenty of stuff I don’t. I have new friends who are already willing to lend a hand at the drop of a hat. I have encouraging friends who not only inspire me to be a better person but work to help me get there. I have fun friends who make me smile when I need it and lend a shoulder when I’d rather cry.

Turns out, having friends is kinda awesome. I am so very blessed to have such amazing people in my life.

I’m in a much better place these days, than I was for much of my adult life. The hubby & I are happy together, enjoying one another and dating our way through the alphabet. The girls are growing up to be such caring spirits—I just love to see the people they are turning out to be. And, I have friends. Real & actual friends. I didn’t for so very long, but I never realized just how damaging that was to the rest of my life.

I didn’t know how to make friends, really. Where do grownups meet people? I tried playgroups but was worlds apart from other mothers, having started at age 20. I tried church groups but never really connected with anyone on a personal level. So, I pretty much gave up & went about my business. Along the way, great friends just kind of worked their way into my life.

At what point does an acquaintance cross that line into friendship?

Sometimes it happens slowly—you meet a local blogger for dinner once, just to know someone like you. Then, you grab a margarita together one day. And, before you know it, these are the people you consider your friends. They get you, and while most of your conversations happen via Facebook & Twitter, you know they’d drop anything to be there for you. Because you’d do the same for any one of them.

Sometimes, that line doesn’t take years to blur. Sometimes, it gets stomped on in an instant. Which is how I happen to know the exact date that MFJ and I really became friends. We celebrated our friendiversary earlier this month (what?! It’s a real thing!) in grand style. Next year, we’re sending save the date cards, though, because it was just the two of us for the Cosmo Moms 2nd anniversary celebration.

And, it is definitely cause for celebration because there is nothing like having a best friend. Every woman deserves to have a girlfriend in her life who knows all her faults but loves her anyway. Someone who can stop by your house without warning and never even notice the poor housekeeping skills. Someone who will listen to your daily rants & support you without question.

Not to mention, someone who will tell you when your butt looks fat in those pants.

MFJ has seen me at my worst. She shakes it alongside me every week in Zumba, when I look like a fool. She encourages my dreams—no matter how completely crazy they may be. She proudly displayed my graduation announcements & shares my triumph or trials with the girls right along with us. She’s there to answer my calls any time day or night and proudly tells the world all about my awesome.

So, this spring, I’m excited to tell the world all about her. And, celebrate her awesome!

Are you a blogger, too? Click here to register for a chance at 50 free announcements!

This post is part of a series sponsored by Shutterfly. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

The Pacers.

The Colts.


The Brickyard.

I’ve done it (almost) all. And, when One2One Network offered to send my family and I to a Fever game, I got a step closer to attending every major sporting event in the Indianapolis area. (#27 on the list, if you’re counting.) It was the girls’ first experience at a game, in their memory anyway and all 3 loved it.

Yes, even Stacia who is usually way too cool for family night. Brenia was obsessed with the score—she didn’t just want to win; she wanted to see the Fever cross 100. I tried to tell her WNBA games tend to score lower than men’s, but she didn’t give up.

And, neither did the Fever. “The girls” just seem to play with more intensity. I wonder if it’s because they have more to prove…? I have been to no less than a dozen Pacer games over the years, but this was a completely different experience. Their final score was, indeed, 100. Brenia was beyond excited!

Even Lorelai did well at this event. She’s not really one to sit still, and I think taking her to a venue filled with excitement & noise was perfect. I thought she’d be over it once the cotton candy was gone, but we were in luck—in celebration of Freddy’s birthday, mascots from across Indiana showed up for fun & games.

We enjoyed the game, the mascot shows and our autograph session at the end. Tully Bevilaqua and Tamika Catchings were truly gracious. They spent time chatting with my girls, signed all of our shirts and I can’t wait to see them play again. There’s only a couple more weeks left in this season, but if you want to see them in action, One2One Network has a coupon code for you!

Buy one Fever ticket, get one free when you use coupon code WNBABLOG. The coupon code is also good for discounts with teams across the league—have fun!

I received a family pack of tickets through One2One Network to facilitate this review.

I put a lot of time & effort into creating my 40×40 list. I revised, edited & felt pretty confident that I was publishing my official, permanent, final draft. A couple years into the project, I’m editing it for the very first time.

Blame Casey.

Well, okay—so it’s not all her fault. The original sports-related item stated “Own season tickets to a local sports team—good seats.” And, while that’s still a wish list item, I am changing it to something that is both bigger & more attainable.

The idea started when I added “Attend an Indians game.” to my ever-growing summer fun list. It grew when One 2 One Network offered me tickets to take my family to a Fever game in July. I was thrown completely over the edge when Casey wrote about her Indy 500 experience. I don’t just want to see one, single Indy team.

I want to see them all!

The 40×40 list has officially been edited. I’ve been to many, many Pacer games. I’ve been to a Colts game. I’ve been to the Brickyard. I’ve been to Supercross—10 times! This summer, I’m checking out the Fever. By the end of my 40×40 journey? I’ll add the Indians, the 500 and the Ice.

27. Attend every sporting event in the Indianapolis area at least once.

Here’s something you should know about me first—I’m not majorly into celebrity gossip. I don’t read celeb magazines. I don’t care who is married and who’s getting divorced. I don’t even have a long list of celebrities that fascinate me—just a short, ever-changing list of celebs I’d do if given the opportunity. Wait, I mean..no, that’s exactly what I meant.

I’ve met Gallagher—sort of. I’ve met Paul and Storm. I’ve met Tim Gunn. And, yet, I just couldn’t cross this one off 40×40“>the list.

I wanted one of those Wow! celebrities. You tell people you met so-and-so and hear “Wow! Really?” instead of “Who?” My sister has met Hulk Hogan, Mark Cuban and B.B. King. B.B. King! And, she didn’t even know who he was. Her blues fan brother-in-law was incredibly jealous. For me, crossing this one off meant I needed to see some serious envy!

I just couldn’t figure out how to make that happen. It seemed like one of those wishful thinking entries that I couldn’t plan, control or possibly even do. I was resigned to reaching 40 without crossing this one off the list, even as I challenged MFJ to get me on Rachael Ray. She would totally count!

Enter the beautiful, fabulous Alli Worthington and her completely awesome sidekick Barbara Jones!

A few weeks before Blissdom, these amazing women announced a special appearance by Harry Connick Jr. complete with meet ‘n greet! Harry Connick Jr.? Harry Connick Jr.?! O.M.G. It’s like they designed the entire weekend just for me. I freaking love Harry Connick Jr. Obviously.

Harry Connick Jr.Then, the Saints went to the Superbowl. And, HCJ had to be there! Of course. I wouldn’t have it any other way. But, did this amazing guy stand us up? Afterall, we were just a small group of women—a drop in the bucket compared to the Superbowl.

Heck no—he’s amazing, remember? Instead of the keynote and Saturday night event they had originally planned, Harry Connick Jr. offered a private, mini-concert & short photo session instead. Short? You mean, I might not get a chance to meet him?

That was not going to work into my plan. I was determined to be one of the lucky bloggers to meet him. Of course, I should never have underestimated the fabulous duo of Alli & Barbara—they found a way to make it work! Harry would greet bloggers in groups of 6 so everyone could have a photo with him.

And yet, I wasn’t sure that would be good enough for my list.

So, I managed to finagle my way to the front of a group. And, to be the first to Harry when it was our turn. Did you expect anything less of me? I had to introduce myself. To officially meet him. To stand next to him. To touch him. (Although, I promised Alli I would be totally appropriate—she felt the need to warn me twice!)

I walked up to him, he took my hand, turned his gorgeous eyes straight to mine and said, “Hi, I’m Harry.”


Me with Harry Connick Jr.

Yes, I totally cropped everyone else out of my picture. Shuddup.

PhotobucketI was very excited to have the opportunity to review the latest CD from indie artist Ross King. The hubby kinda has a thing for music. He is constantly finding new artists, both for himself and the girls. He especially enjoys eMusic for their huge database of independent music. We like to support the little guy, yo.

Words That Rhyme with Orange is a children’s music CD. It has a listed age of 2-12 but my oldest was much more interested in retreating to her room with Radio Disney than listening to the CD with our other girls. I don’t know where we went wrong with that child. The songs are a lot of fun, but I think it would most appeal to the preschool set. “If I Wasn’t So Cute” was clearly written about my preschooler!

This CD is independent and self-produced so you won’t find it in stores. It retails for around $12 and can be purchased atRoss King Music, through iTunes or on Amazon. You can also hear a sample of 4 different tracks at RossKingMusic.com, including Lorelai’s favorite—Juicebox. The full track list includes:

1. Happy to Be Me
2. Juicebox
3. If I Wasn’t So Cute
4. Lionmonkeyacondonkey
5. More
6. Learning My Alphabet
7. The Food Trying Song
8. Afrikiddo Romp
9. The Sound of Whining
10. I Like to Play Outside
11. Don’t Do It
12. Sleepyhead
13. Naomi’s Lullabye

This is a Mama Buzz review. The CD was provided by Ross King for this review.

I am definitely not the photographer that some fabulous ladies around the blogosphere are, but I love to take pictures. I’m more of a scrapbooker (although, try telling that to the abandoned supplies in my craft closet). My new(ish), really awesome camera has been a lot of fun to have and produce fantastic portraits of my girls, but I’ve realized recently that I’m not taking as many random snapshots as I did when my camera fit into a purse. I have jumped on board with Project 365—a picture a day for 2010 (because I just don’t have enough projects around here) in hopes of getting back into the habit of recording everyday life. And, after that very wordy introduction, I present our first week of the year for Wordless Wednesday:

Earlier this week, I did an interview on my reasons for not letting my tween daughter see New Moon this weekend. As it turns out, the article was for CNN. I had no idea. I also had no idea people would view my decision as something bad. In the comments, I have been called a cruel, controlling cougar. Okay, one comment, but it has several Likes so there are obviously people who agree with Krista.

I am, quite honestly, shocked that anyone would disagree with me. The movie is rated PG-13 and based on a “young adult” novel. My daughter is only 11. It seems only logical that I would have to make a parental decision on the matter and assert some authority as her mother. In fact, I have trouble understanding the parents who let their children read the books or watch the movies without any personal knowledge of the content.

I have read the entire series—10 times. I, obviously, love it but that doesn’t make it automatically appropriate for a child. I love Cosmos too but you don’t see me passing them out at family dinner. Twilight is quite tame, as is New Moon, really. The Volturi are creepy & scary, sure, but she has enjoyed Aliens and Poltergeist so that is not an issue. She’s also read the entire Harry Potter series and seen the movies (in fact, she’s watching one now on a sick day) so the fantasy thing is clearly not an issue.

Where I take issue is with Eclipse, as the content turns more adult. Bella faces decisions about premarital sex and teen marriage. In Breaking Dawn, her struggles expand to include the topic of abortion. Yes, I’ve discussed all of these with her but that doesn’t mean she’s ready to see them played out in her imagination or on screen. I did finally relent and let her read Twilight & New Moon, but I put my foot down on finishing the series. At least for a few years.

However, I was not willing to let her see this movie yet. Mostly, because there is always the chance with a book-based movie for content from later books to insert itself into earlier movies. I wasn’t sure how much of the above subjects would be a part of New Moon. As it turns out, the movie is actually quite accurate to the book. I was pleasantly surprised. We’ll probably let her see it when it comes out on DVD.

That’s called parenting. I see nothing cruel about letting children know some things were not meant for them. When did it become okay to let children make their own decisions. I either stand idly by while my daughter does whatever she wants or risk being called a mean mom and a helicopter parent. I tend to be fairly liberal about a lot of things. I think their dad and I do a pretty good job of finding middle ground—giving our children freedom as appropriate and reining them in when they need guidance.

Why is everything black or white with Mommy Wars? You either breastfeed or you don’t. You can work or stay at home. We draw so many lines about what is and isn’t a good mom. There doesn’t seem to be any recognition that every parent has different children and, therefore, will need to tailor their own decisions. I can’t even use the same parenting twice because I have 3 very unique girls! Is it really so hard to understand each child, situation and parent may need to make decisions unique to their circumstances?